iPhone “S” naming system “sends a rather weak message” says former Apple consultant


We’ve become used to Apple taking its own sweet time to hone and perfect its hardware masterpieces. But, one aspect of Apple’s iPhone releases that never fails to drawer criticism is the “in between” or “S” updates in between major design changes. We’ve had the iPhone 3GS, 4S and everyone who’s been following any clues and hints from “in the know” sources will be predicting a 5S this year. Essentially, each one looks identical to its predecessor but its internal components have been boosted to give us a faster and more powerful device, normally with a better camera.

One person who’s been critical of this system of semi-updates is Ken Segall, a brand consultant who has worked with Apple in the past. His thoughts are that it goes against the company’s focus on simplicity by making the naming unnecessarily complex. He had a few choice words:

“Tacking an S onto the existing model number sends a rather weak message. It says that this is our ‘off-year’ product, with only modest improvements.”

Although I understand his opinion, I don’t agree. Apple typically takes design of its products incredibly seriously. In fact, some might say that it’s as much a design company as a technology company. Jony Ive’s untouchable position as senior designer shows that much. He reports only to the CEO, no one else. So, to expect a new design every single year is ludicrous. It takes time and energy for Ive and his experienced team to come up with designs they’re happy with on all hardware. So, let’s assume that the iPhone will only get a face lift every other year.

With that being the case, naming the product isn’t that difficult. It looks exactly like the previous generation, so what can they call it? If it looks like an iPhone 5 and has boosted specs, can you call it an iPhone 6? There’s always the possibility that the chiefs could decide on a more iPad/iPod like naming system. ie. iPhone with Retina, or just “new iPhone”. I think 5S works well. After all, “S” normally stands for Speed, and if it’s faster it’ll be hunky-dorey.

Truth be told, I’m not sure the naming is that bad. After all, each generation of iPhone has sold more on its first week than any of the other previous generations put together. That crazy statistic also includes the “S” updates which prove popular.

What do you think? Is the “S” naming system weak? Or does it make complete sense?

Source: KenSegall
Via: AppleInsider

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  • raptorstv

    Having an S after the number is great

  • jabombardier

    I am indifferent to it. It will not change my perspective towards a great product. The “S” is just an indication to an SOC upgrade, and other hardware upgrades. It shouldn’t a colloquial subject of criticism.

  • whitechristmas2

    TodaysiPhone the “S” makes perfect sense to me!! Besides being faster than its predecessor…the “S” indicates “Superior” to me :-)

  • I think having an S model can help with sales. You have your typical Apple fan(atic)s who want to be on top of the latest and greatest devices, so they will likely buy whatever new model comes out. Then you have those that will jump at a new design because they want to stand out from their peers.
    However, there are also people who like getting the best out of their devices. By having a design on a two year cycle, with a second generation of a design having refinements, people that are patient enough to wait can enjoy the benefits of the S model while still feeling a little push to get it (better specs but the same great design).
    I personally like S models. My first iPhone was the 3GS, and I’m currently using a 4S. I didn’t like some features of the 4, and there are some points of the 5 that I don’t like yet. Most of these are internal components that I would like to see improved, and I am confident the 5S will be better improved than the 5 in this regard.

  • JoshPate

    I just figured “S” as meaning a supplementary upgrade! Pretty simplistic to me!

  • Dwinbush2

    I think people will end up getting the iPhone 5S because it will have features that the iPhone 5 will not have and people like to have the latest version from Apple. The size won’t change but the features inside the phone will with a faster processor, camera and maybe a better Siri hopefully. Siri was something Apple used to convince people to trade in your iPhone 4 or add a line to get the iPhone 4S. But I wasn’t really that empressed with Siri so I held out for the iPhone 5. I probably will trade in my iPhone 5 to get the iPhone 5S because I am eligible for a new phone. Just like the iPad 2. Nothing was done in the shape or size then the iPad 3 and surprisingly the iPad 4 came out. Apple did nothing in size but to only come out with a iPad mini. It was not worth my running to get another iPad but it hard to tell if I have the iPad 4 if you don’t notice I have Siri on my iPad and a better camera. Hopefully Apple will change the size of the new iPad because people are getting bored of the same make and model and I still get good life out if my iPad 2.

  • Dwinbush2

    It doesn’t make Apple look weak because lol what Samsung did to the S4. A better processor, camera, and they changed the size. People will now hold on to their upgrades and get the S4 because its the latest model. I just prey Apple does something special in June.

  • FesteringKadaver

    What Samsung did with the S4 was basically the same thing apple did with the 5 from 4s. And it will most likely be the same from 5 to 5S. Best wait for iphone 6.

  • BrainRoopull

    Here’s the thing…  With Android, Windows Phone and iOS, the hardware has gotten so freakishly powerful that most hardware improvements do little to improve the phone.  A faster processor?  For what?  These phones do everything incredibly fast.  Better screens?  Really?  You have to get a bottom barrel Android to get something even close to a “bad screen.”  Sure, some are better than others, but the reality is that a better screen isn’t going to make a hill of beans with these modern super phones. The only piece of hardware on any phone – on every phone – that can seriously be improved enough to turn heads is the camera.  Even that, though, isn’t integral to the functionality of the phone. The last few iPhones have disappointed with the lack of “innovative features.”  The newest Galaxy is sweet, but as far as innovation goes, is a bit of a yawner, too.  This is because the phones are just so amazingly good, there really isn’t much existing technology they can pack into these things to wow us with a new release.  It’s already in there!  I predict the next iPhone will be – again – marketed as a magical amazing and innovative device.  In reality, like the stupidly overly hyped Galaxy, it’ll have a few nifty upgrades over the current model that will make iPhone owners say, “I guess I’ll get one when my contract is up” instead of, “Holy Moley, I have to have that NOW!”  That being said, Apple does have a little more room to grow since they’ve failed to include some key bits of technology the Androids & WPs have.  NFC aside, none of them are all that impressive anyhow.

  • DrewPage

    I agree with you Cam, the naming system Apple uses right now is just fine.  The fact of the matter is though, the normal everyday consumer just doesn’t care about the “s”.  I’ve asked friends and family if they took into account the name of their iPhone when they bought it, and they said “It has a name?  I thought it was just iPhone”.  So, calling the next iPhone a 5S will be fine and is at least consistent.  Its much better than the copious amount of Galaxy phones Samsung foists upon the world.

  • DamienRaine

    One thing I like about the “S” cycle, which both my wife and I are on is that Apple seems to fix the issues that plague the first generation of a new design, like with the 4’s “antenna-gate”